Is Ocho Rios Safe for Tourists to Visit (and is It a Good Vacation Spot)?

Ocho Rios is one of the safest places for tourists to visit in Jamaica. However, because it is a cruise port city, “Ochi” - as the locals affectionately call it - does have crime. That said, most tourists visiting Ocho Rios will never experience any safety issues.
Is Ocho Rios Safe for Tourists to Visit?
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Although Ocho Rios is a destination that requires visitors to exercise safety precautions, this does not mean that you should alarmed, but rather be alert.

As long as you use your common sense, you shouldn’t experience any issues during your holiday in Ocho Rios.

Read on for the essential guide to safety in Ocho Rios.

Is Ocho Rios a Good Vacation Spot?

Yes, Ocho Rios is a good vacation spot as it has a lot to offer. For those who want to see Jamaica’s major attractions, Ocho Rios is just the place to go.

Most hotels in Ocho Rios are around 15 minutes away from popular sites such as Dunn’s River Falls, Mystic Mountain and Dolphin Cove.

What is Ocho Rios Known for?

Ocho Rios is known for:

  • The birthplace and final resting place of legendary reggae musician Bob Marley is located in the hills above Ocho Rios.
  • The setting of “Dr. No,” the first James Bond film, released in 1962.
  • Jamaica’s adventure capital, boasting the highest number of attractions per square mile.
  • Home to one of the most well-known cruise ship ports in the Caribbean.
  • The home of Marcus Garvey, one of Jamaica’s most beloved national heroes.

Non-touristy Things to Do in Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios offers visitors a variety of non-touristy attractions and activities to enjoy.

Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn’s River Falls comprises 180m of terraced cascades. On a guided tour, visitors can climb up the limestone tiers all the way to the top of the waterfall, slide down the smooth rock areas, and swim inside the cool waters of the lagoon at the base.

There is also a lovely beach at the bottom of the falls.

Rainforest Adventures, Mystic Mountain

Rainforest Adventures Mystic Mountain offers the ultimate tropical adrenaline rush.

Visitors can ascend the mountain on a chairlift situated high over the rainforest, and soak up stunning views of the coast and the cruise ship port below. Zoom down the mountain on a roller-coaster, or fly through the rainforest canopy on a zip-line. Nature walks and an infinity pool with a waterslide are also available.

The Blue Hole

The alluring Blue Hole comprises several picturesque pools fed by waterfalls amid the lush jungle of the mountains. Also known as the Secret Falls or Island Gully Falls, it features several levels offering different vantage points.

One of the coolest things to do at Blue Hole is to climb over the rocks above the pool and play Tarzan, while swinging on the ropes and jumping into the blue waters.

Dolphin Cove

Covering 5 acres, Dolphin Cove is a marine park that comprises a natural cove surrounded by rainforest where visitors can snorkel with sting rays or sail on a glass-bottomed kayak.

Dolphin encounters are the biggest highlight and visitors can hold, feed and swim with the gentle creatures, and even get a dolphin “kiss.” There are also camel rides, shark shows and a walk through the Jungle Trail.

Nine Mile Tour

A mecca for reggae music fans, the tiny village of Nine Mile is the birth place and final resting place of legendary musician Bob Marley.

Visitors can go on a guided tour through the small museum and mausoleum in which Marley is buried. Knowledgeable guides share interesting stories about Marley’s extraordinary life, as well as insights into the Rastafarian religion.

Firefly

Firefly is the home and burial place of playwright, Sir Noel Coward. The simple one-bedroom house was constructed high on the hills overlooking the playwright’s original home in Blue Harbor, and contains his paintings, photos and pianos.

The highlight here is the breathtaking view of Jamaica’s coastline from one of the island’s best vantage points.

Fern Gully Scenic Drive

Fern Gully is a 5km winding road constructed on an old riverbed running south from Ocho Rios. Huge tree ferns form a canopy overhead, creating a natural tunnel for travelers cruising along the road.

It makes for a scenic drive, with the thick foliage of pristine tropical forest providing shade from the sun. Visitors may stop at roadside stalls along the route to purchase souvenirs such as wood carvings.

Green Grotto Caves

Jamaica’s most famous limestone caves, the Green Grotto Caves were formerly used by the Arawak Indians and were also a hideaway for escaped slaves, as well as Spanish settlers evading the British.

In recent times, the caves were used as a setting for a James Bond film. Today, the caves are inhabited by snakes and bats. Visitors can see gorgeous stalagmites and stalactites, as well as the underground lake.

Shaw Park Gardens

Nestled high on the hills overlooking Ocho Rios and the Caribbean Sea, Shaw Park Gardens is a nature lovers’ paradise.

Visitors can wander around 25 acres of lush botanical gardens dotted with tropical blooms, lily-topped ponds and a cascading waterfall. The trees harbor many bird species, including the swallow-tailed hummingbird aka the doctor bird – the national bird of Jamaica.

River Tubing on the White River

Nature enthusiasts at White River get to relax on inner tubes as they drift leisurely along the clear waters over gentle rapids.

This is a relaxing tour that the entire family can enjoy, as it offers a fantastic way to unwind and soak up the tropical scenery. Bird lovers can enjoy spotting new species among the lush foliage that lines the riverbank.

Turtle River Falls and Gardens

Turtle River Falls and Gardens offers the opportunity to relax and reconnect with nature. The site comprises fifteen acres of mountainside gardens, with fourteen waterfalls, tiny pools, a koi pond and hammocks.

One of its highlights is the aviary, which is filled with exotic birds. Visitors can hand-feed the birds that like to perch on outstretched arms.

How Many Days Do You Need in Ocho Rios?

As an itinerary guide, you could do 2-3 days (or more) in Ocho Rios.

With three days spent in Ocho Rios, not only can you explore lots of the area’s historical sites and natural attractions, but you’ll also have time to get immersed in the local culture and go on a few excursions.

But avoid overbooking yourself in Ocho Rios as the whole point of Jamaica is to relax and feel the vibes.

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